£60m action plan to boost economy
A plan to attract £60 million of investment in Leicester is being launched today.
City mayor Sir Peter Soulsby has drawn up his Leicester Economic Action Plan which aims to tackle unemployment and boost growth in the city between now and 2020.
It aims to create or safeguard 8,500 jobs in the city through the investment.
The plan includes some measures previously announced by the city council, such as Connecting Leicester and creating apprenticeships, but also includes new initiatives such as wanting 800 start-up companies established in the next three years.
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It is set to be unveiled to about 100 business leaders this morning, when Sir Peter will give more details about its content.
Sir Peter said: "This is an ambitious strategy that builds on Leicester's strengths and the substantial investment of the past 15 years.
"Our plan focuses on creating the jobs and environment we need to unlock the city's tremendous potential for growth.
"By working with our partners, we can inject more pace into the economic growth of the city and ensure it emerges strongly from the economic downturn that has so badly affected all UK cities."
One of the action plan's main aims is to tackle unemployment – particularly among young people.
It hopes to secure £60 million of investment for the city from abroad and within the UK by working with the business organisation The Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) and the Government's foreign trade arm, the UK Trade and Investment.
The plan foresees the creation of four business investment areas. A food and drink manufacturing area will be developed in the north east of the city where many firms in that sector are already based.
The city's St George's Cultural Quarter is intended to become a hub for creative industries and an innovation and technology area will be focussed on the long-awaited science park off Abbey Lane.
The fourth investment area will be the city centre and will focus on shopping, office development and leisure.
The action plan outlines an aim to get a four or five -tar hotel in the city centre.
More advice will be offered to businesses and the city council wants 800 start-up companies established in the next three years.
For its own part, the council will create 100 apprenticeships, secure 160 internships for graduates in city firms and look to create 400 six-month contract jobs in the public and voluntary sectors.
LLEP chairman Andrew Bacon said he welcomed the council's commitment to working with businesses.
He said: "I am convinced that with the leadership of the city mayor and the active engagement of the private sector we can make a real difference to the prosperity of Leicester."
For reaction to the plan, see tomorrow's Mercury.